Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Best Practices for Teacher Management of Chromebook Carts

To best protect the Chromebooks and ensure that they last as long as possible for you to continue using, here are some best practices.  

With repeated use, students will quickly learn the procedures, and check in and out will be much smoother.

  1. Assign each student a number.  That is the Chromebook they will ALWAYS use in your class, and the Chromebook they are responsible for.
    • Print out a list for each class that you pin on the wall above the cart, in case they forget their assigned computer.
    • Have students write down their number in their notebook or planner.  (Or print out labels for each student with their name and number to put on their class notebook, planner, etc.)
    • If new students join your class, just assign them an empty number.  Don’t go re-organizing or alphabetizing your list after you’ve assigned numbers.  The students will get confused.
  2. Distribute Chromebooks.  If cart is open, students know to pick up their Chromebook on the way into class.  If it’s closed, they are not to grab one.
    • Make sure students only get their Chromebook, not ones for friends too. When they carry too many, they drop them.
    • Students should use two hands to carry a Chromebook, and never have them open when they are walking.
    • Students should double check that their Chromebook is actually the right number, in case the person before them put it away in the wrong spot.  Remember, they are responsible for their assigned number.
    • Stand near the cart or door to make sure no chromebooks wander out of class.
    • If you are having students get Chromebooks after the beginning of class, call up students in groups.  Ex.  1-10, 10-20, 20-30, etc.
  3. Check the Chromebooks.  
    • If there is ANYTHING wrong with the Chromebook, the student should tell you right away.  
    • That way you know that it was broke the period before, and know which student is responsible.
    • Notify the appropriate AVP immediately if a student broke a device.
  4. Sign In.  Students should be sure they sign in to their GAFE account.  
    • If they open the device, and it’s already on the internet, the person before them is signed in.
    • Have them sign out the other person, and sign in themselves.
  5. Student care of computers.
    • No food or drink next to the devices. Keeping the units clean will help extend their life.
    • Use the device on a flat surface. Using the device on your lap increases the risk of damage.
    • Do not attach personal accessories to the Chromebooks. Headphones can be used when directed by staff. 
    • Not charging student cell phones through the USB port will extend battery life during the day.
  6. Sign Out.  When done, make sure students sign out.  
    (at the bottom right corner of the screen) 
  7. Students should return their Chromebook in the last few minutes of class, NOT after the bell rings.
    • Only have students plug in Chromebooks at the end of the day, not each period.  It takes up too much time.
    • Call up students in groups to put away their Chromebook, and be sure they put it in the correct slot.  1-10, 10-20, etc. 
    • Make sure each computer is put away (and plugged in if this is the last period) and close the cart door BEFORE you let any students leave the class.
    • You don’t want to sit and plug in all 35 chromebooks, so make sure the students do it for you.
  8. Don’t allow students to leave the class when Chromebooks are out.  
    • This is how Chromebooks are stolen.  Even if you collect the Chromebook from the student who is leaving the room, that doesn’t ensure that they didn’t put another one in their backpack before leaving.  
    • Make sure all Chromebooks are accounted for.
  9. Never leave the cart unlocked when you are not in the room.
  10. Make sure the cart is locked, plugged in, and charging at the end of the day.
    • Please remember that the cart is checked out to you, the teacher, not the students.  So you are ultimately responsible for the contents.  
    • Be sure everything is plugged in and in the correct spot, before the cart moves on to another teacher.  You wouldn't want to open the cart and find that half of the Chromebooks aren't plugged in and charged.
    • Devices should not be used when you are not there.  Your class should not be using the carts when you have a substitute teacher.
  11. Notify your school’s site tech regarding damage or malfunction of Chromebooks
  12. Moving Carts
    • Only teachers should move carts, do not allow students to move cart around the campus. 
    • Unplug power connector, from wall, before moving, and wrap the cord around the cord management.  
    • When transporting Chromebooks without cart, do not stack more than 4 books on top of each other or the screens will crack.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Digital Citizenship Week - Lesson Ideas Linking Content to Digital Citizenship

This week is Digital Citizenship Week.  A week to promote teaching digital citizenship to all of our students.

What is digital citizenship?
"Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use."  - digitalcitizenship.net
Why should we teach digital citizenship?
Our students are prolific users of technology, especially cell phones, and use it regardless of whether we allow the use of it in our classrooms.  However, our students don't always use technology in a responsible manner.  

It is up to us, as educators, to guide our students and teach them how to use technology as an educational tool, and to use it responsibly in all aspects of their lives.  And, since we don't always have access to computer labs, why not take advantage of the computers our students carry with them at all times?

Ideas to Teach Digital Citizenship & Take Advantage of Student Devices
  • Use Google Classroom's Question feature to have an online discussion about a video, text, or activity you have done in class.  Teach students the proper way to write a response, and how to respectfully agree, disagree, or ask questions of each other.
  • Have students write blog posts and comment on other's blogs to share their learning and ideas with others around the world, not just their classmates.
  • Use Instagram to do a visual imagery lesson, and teach students how to properly post, use hashtags, and comment on each other's feeds.
  • Use Twitter to participate in an online chat to practice argumentation with claims, evidence, and reasoning, as well as to develop a positive, professional, social media presence.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Short Time Fillers with Hidden Benefits

Sometimes the timing of a lesson doesn't go as planned, and you have a few extra minutes of class.  Some Google search tools can provide a few minutes of activity to fill the time, but also provide some skills practice that will help your students when they are doing research for your class.

A Google A Day

Have you ever had a hard time finding exactly what you are looking for when searching the web?  It is really hard to learn how to Google Search effectively, especially for our high school students.  Google has a fun game, called "A Google A Day" which allows students to practice their search skills.  It asks three questions, that generally are multipart questions, and it has a search bar on the same page to practice.  They also have a great tip section and can provide hints.  I used this with my classes frequently, and they had a blast.  I let them use their cell phones and the student who solved it first had to explain to the class exactly how they found the answer.  Through the year, I noticed their search skills greatly improved.  (Many times I'd allow students to use their cell phones, because we didn't have the cart that day.)


Geoguesser is a fun game that allows students to use their critical thinking skills. They will see short sections of Google Streetview maps, and using context clues from the maps, they need to determine where in the world the map is located.  This would be such a great tool to use in World Language or Social Science courses, as students will see different parts of the world.  

If you want to create your own Geoguesser game, with your own locations, you can do that with Geosettr.  If you are introducing a new unit, reviewing locations in a novel or a historical event, or locations that it's inhabitants speak the language you teach, this would be an amazing tool to use.

Smarty Pins

Play some trivia with Smarty Pins, where you can choose the category, such as science and geography, arts and culture, or history and current events, and then find the locations on a map.  

Just For Fun:  Fun Fact

Sometimes I would write famous quotes or fun facts on the board to change things up for my students.  If you type "fun fact" into the Google Omnibox (search bar), you will find  fun facts with links to more information.  You can also click "ask another question" for more fun facts!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Send Your Voicemail to Your Email

In the classroom, it was always really hard to check my voicemail.  Especially when I was sharing multiple classrooms and didn't have a regular routine to be able to sit down, call the voicemail number, and check for new voicemail.  

There is a solution!  You can automatically send each new voicemail to your Gmail account.  You will receive an email letting you know you have a voicemail, and you can even play the message directly from your email.